The world never lacks preachers; but, it is short of preachers who follow the Lord to the end and serve him throughout their life. Even at an old age, their hearts are filled with the fervor offered in their youth.
Every morning, a few to dozens of people attend prayer meetings, including a white-haired woman. On her knees, she always follows the guidance of a worker who leads meetings and silently prays for every family, the church, and her country. She is my aunt.
In her younger years, she was a preacher who didn't study theology and was one of the founders of our church.
In the beginning, three people including her stuck a cross made of red paper on the wall then began the first gathering. Some decades later, the gathering has become a local megachurch.
Actually, early sermons were "borrowed" from another church. At that time when there was no Bible, my aunt and other believers spent a whole night arriving at a church tens of kilometers away by foot once a week. The moment they got there on Sunday mornings, the sermon part already started. They took notes of it that lasted for a day. At night, they walked back to their church.
In the next two years, they looked through the notes and summarized how to deliver those messages to the congregation who were illterate. They kept doing this for more than three years.
Afterwards, they received an unexpected gift, a vertical-column Bible, then regarded it as a priceless treasure. Believers felt themselves go back in full strength after reading a passage in Sunday services.
My parents believed in Jesus at that time, which was mostly owed to my aunt's endeavor.
My father was seriously sick and my mother cried all day. It made my poor family conditions much worse. My mother worked endlessly in a production team, so my aunt often secretly helped her with housework. Seeing our family life "unsustainable", she tried to persuade my mother to follow Jesus.
However, my mother refused several times with the excuse of busyness. But my father decided to convert to Christianity after being reached. He experienced gradual healing from God and later, could share my mother's labor.
At times, my aunt still preached the gospel to my mother who started to accompany my father to the church and became a Christian.
My parents' conversions were a big comfort to three founding members of the church because my father was a junior middle school graduate who could read. Shortly after this, my father began to lead the congregation to read the Bible and got stronger day by day.
It was my aunt's perseverance that made my family "Christian".
On holidays and festivals, my mother used to take me and my younger sister to visit my aunt. But it didn't last for years. My parents' faith turned weak and a relapse struck my father, which let them fail to cover daily expenses, while the aunt brought some eggs to nourish my father every now and then. He was inspired and my mother determined not to go after the world, thus they resumed going to church.
During that period, my father recovered "radically" and was miraculously able to do some heavy work. To support our family, my aunt introduced him to join woodworking with her husband. Eventually, my father took the responsibility of leading the church as my aunt remained the only living founder.
My father often tells us that we've not come so far without my aunt's prayer and support. She is the savior of my family and a person who sincerely sacrifices for God.
My aunt stopped preaching sermons a long time ago, but she never ceases sharing the gospel with people. She always encourages and comforts weak people, whenever. She claims that she is a God-given walking stick that supports anyone about to stumble.
Now in her eighties, she still keeps busy. Unable to walk a long distance, she drives an auto rickshaw to strengthen believers in all weathers.
- Translated by Karen Luo